I’ve been holding off on rating this one, because I was actually a little disappointed by it. I haven’t had a lot of Yunnan teas, but Rishi’s China Breakfast and Samovar’s Breakfast blend have apparently spoiled me, because this tastes weak. I mean, it’s a good flavor – I will happily drink it – and it has the earth/pepper/smoke/malt flavor, but it doesn’t have the depth and kick I’ve gotten from those other two. I need to use a heaping teaspoon, maybe even 2 tsp, for 8 oz, and when I’ve tried for a second steep it’s been noticeably weaker. Now, if you prefer your black tea without additives this might be good for you, but I like milk, and this tea struggles to hold its own.

I’m happy to have tried this, it was a fantastic deal on Steepster Select for organic tea, but considering that Rishi’s is also organic (and priced similarly) I’d be more likely to buy there next time.

As this cools, I am getting some really interesting, almost puerh-like, flavors. This is certainly the earthiest black tea I’ve had, and might be a good one to try if you’re wanting to ease into puerh.

205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 30 sec

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Some notes on ratings:

I’d have separate rating scales for tea types if that were possible (probably Black, Flavored Black, Darjeeling/Dark Oolong, White/Green/Light Oolong, and Herbal) because the flavors and quality markers are just too different. A flavored black rated 100 isn’t better than every oolong I’ve ever drunk, just delicious for a flavored black.

Ratings are a combination of my enjoyment and the perceived quality – I do often demote teas a few points for artificial flavorings, small quantity of steeps supported, or weakness of flavor (requiring extra leaf).

I pay less attention to the number than the order of my ratings; I don’t necessarily keep a stock of everything rated 80+, but if two breakfast blends are rated 82 and 84 I consistently enjoy the 84 more.

And in case it’s not obvious? I am not an expert. I don’t even know what I like until I taste it sometimes, but I’m ok with that :) I like learning to like new teas, as well as enjoying the comfort of familiar ones.


Boston, MA



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